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After the Irish: An Anthology of Poetic Translation

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This anthology demonstrates that verse translation from the Irish represents, in its own right, a significant part of the tradition of Irish poetry written in English. Rather than offering the usual view of verse translation as a means of preserving and providing access to poetry written in Irish, this anthology foregrounds the aesthetic and cultural value of verse translation as poetry. The anthology is historical in form, beginning with a translation done in 1635 and concluding with the work of contemporary poets. The translations are grouped by individual translators and arranged into five sections: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries; Nineteenth Century; Irish Literary Revival; Modern Ireland; and Contemporary Ireland. Each translator is introduced with a headnote and each translation is fully annotated and accompanied by the original text in Irish and a literal translation of it into English.

The anthology includes a critical introduction that offers a concise but remarkably wide-ranging account of Irish poetry over the past three centuries, drawing attention to the relevant cultural and political circumstances from which it was wrought, with colonial and postcolonial issues particularly in mind. At the same time, it also gives careful and illuminating consideration to verse forms and other technical concerns. There is a strong sense of persistent cultural endeavor that gives coherence to a large group of writers and translators from diverse social, religious and political backgrounds. The anthology provides a great service to scholars working in the field of modern Irish literature by bringing together some of the well-known works of seminal poets and translators such as James Clarence Mangan and Samuel Ferguson together with literal translations of the originals on which their writings were based. In this respect, the anthology opens up a vivid and revealing perspective, allowing readers a privileged insights into the creative methods of some of Ireland’s leading authors and cultural architects. A comprehensive bibliography of primary sources concludes the book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This enjoyable anthology serves as a great starting point for further research on the relationship between Irish- and English-language lterary relationships in Ireland... Summing Up: Highly Recommended."

“This impeccable scholarly collection of verse translations is both an affirmation of the value of turning from one language to another and a history of poetic sensibility of the last three hundred years. We have always privileged the original of any work, which we should, as the fount and being of inspiration. But this anthology makes an impressive case for the worth of translated poetry in its own right. Translations from the Irish invigorated English while championing the original language. Irish wrenched English from its comfortable moorings, while English taught Irish that prosody could be loosened up. More important than all of this, however, is that this anthology is immensely enjoyable, emphasizing that poetry is poetry in any language.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859184387
  • Publisher: Cork University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2009
  • Pages: 526
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregory A. Schirmer is Professor of English at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of Out of What Began: A History of Irish Poetry in English.
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